FRYEBURG – The posters of rock concerts from the 1960s that hang around Dave Kinsman’s home promoting bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin are reminders of a life well lived.

On some of those posters also appears the name Ill Wind, a Boston-based band from the 1960s. Kinsman, who lives in Fryeburg these days and is best known for his work on various bicycle and trail projects throughout Maine, played drums in Ill Wind from 1966 to 1969.

The band never quite made it. It was given the opportunity and was on the cusp of fame, but fate and circumstance conspired otherwise.

After a stint keeping time with John Lincoln Wright and the Sour Mash Boys for a brief period in the 1970s, Kinsman quit music, moved to Maine to run a bicycling business, and eventually became an outspoken trail and cycling advocate.

Kinsman has no regrets about how his life turned out. He loved being involved in the music business, and admits that ”it was a big let-down when it didn’t happen. We were ready for it. We were with the William Morris Agency, and they were putting dates together for us. It was all very exciting.

”When you think about all the bands from that time that made it, we were right there.”

Kinsman quit college to play music, and Ill Wind kept him busy. Playing a blend of folk and rock, the band opened for major acts and bands that would become famous, including Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac.

One night in April 1968, they opened for The Who at the Music Hall in Boston.

”Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry were nice guys,” Kinsman recalled. ”We had this big house in Wellesley that we rented, and they were going to come out and party with us. But Keith Moon ended up putting his fist through a window, and they did not come out.”

In 1968, Ill Wind recorded what would become its only album with Tom Wilson, the same producer who worked on some of Bob Dylan’s early albums and produced hits for Simon and Garfunkel and the Animals, among others.

ABC Records released ”Flashes” in June 1968. The album had an initial pressing of 10,000 copies, and a single that never charted. Regrettably for Kinsman and his bandmates, the records were defective and the jackets badly printed.

A second pressing fixed those problems, but ”Flashes” was soon destined for the cut-out bin, and Ill Wind morphed into one of the many bands from its era — gone but not forgotten.

These days, Ill Wind remains a cultural curiosity. Especially overseas, U.S. bands from the 1960s remain popular and collectible. Sunbeam Records, one of the U.K.’s leading reissue labels, reissued ”Flashes” last summer. The double-CD also includes songs the band recorded for Capitol Records in 1966. The band never signed with Capitol, and the sessions were never released.

The original Ill Wind album had been selling on eBay for between $90 and $150. However, since the reissue of the CD last year, the price has come down. In tandem with the CD, Sunbeam also issued a limited vinyl run.

”It’s funny,” Kinsman said, reflecting on the band’s Internet presence, ”a friend of mine observed that there’s been more written about the band since we broke up than when we were together.”

Kinsman himself has cashed in on the nostalgia associated with that period. Back then, he lived around the corner from a club that hosted many of the shows, the legendary Boston Tea Party.

He assembled a pile of posters from those days, and lately has been selling them to collectors. He got $4,800 for the poster advertising Ill Wind’s show with The Who in Boston.

Kinsman refers to himself as retired, but he is involved in any number of bicycle advocacy projects. He is president of the Mountain Division Alliance, a group that is working to complete a trail project along the Mountain Division rail corridor connecting nine communities from Portland to Fryeburg.

He is a past board member of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and was chair of the Maine Bike Rally in 2008 and 2009.

Kinsman took a job to support himself with Eastern Mountain Sports in Boston in 1975. Soon enough, he was running the store’s bike department, and in 1977, he moved to Maine to open the state’s first EMS store, in Auburn.

Five years later, he was out of retail. Kinsman began Downeast Bicycle Specialists, an importing and distributing company. He moved the company from Auburn to Fryeburg, and sold the company in 1999.

He’s been working on bicycle advocacy projects ever since. ”I decided I wanted to do something for bicycling because bicycles had supported my family and me for all those years,” he said.

Kinsman doesn’t play music much anymore, and any talk of an Ill Wind reunion has long since passed. But his memories of those days are nothing but fond.

”It was the most exciting time. It was a great time to be involved in rock ‘n’ roll,” he said.

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]